Empanada Boy and I went to Madison the weekend before last, ostensibly for him to play a gig at his brother Drumstix’s law firm function. Little did EB know, but Drumstix had cooked up an elaborate scheme to surprise him with a bachelor party. The party was at one of the increasingly popular Brazilian steakhouses where you pay a flat fee and then chow down on as much grilled, skewered meat as possible. The flowing taps at the Union Terrace at the University of Wisconsin, numerous drinks purchased for him by friends, a stop at another bar and a beer-filled hotel room made for a drunken night for EB. The morning left him feeling pretty worn out and ready to swear off bachelorhood forever. And what better place to cure his hangover than an old-time diner specializing in traditional breakfast fare, including giant pancakes, sweet rolls, milkshakes and malts? Popcorn Princess, Milkman and I met him and Drumstix at Mickie’s Dairy Bar.
Mickie’s is something of a madhouse on a weekend morning, with many a college student working off the evening before just as EB was trying to do. We were able to get a good seat, though, in one of the tight little booths with Formica topped tables installed around the open kitchen area. The frying and grilling is all done behind the scenes, but ice cream, coffee and milkshakes are doled out from this central ring. Mickie’s is not the best place to visit when you’re on a pre-wedding diet (and EB never lost track of this overriding goal even in the thick of his Brazilian feast), so EB and I decided to share. Together, we ate two tasty sunny-side-up eggs with toast and well-seasoned potatoes, with a side order of corned beef hash. I’m including a picture of the latter here, despite its brown, lumpy appearance, to demonstrate my main beef with itâ€” namely, that there was not enough beef. The corned beef hash was weighed down by too much potato, making it starchy and less juicy than my favorite hash at O’Rourke’s in Middletown, CT.
Popcorn Princess ordered an omelet that looked like it took four eggs to make. It came with toast and potatoes. She couldn’t resist a side slice of the blueberry crumble coffee cake that was being dished up from a huge sheet pan from the central station. Drumstix ordered a rather compact looking breakfast sandwichâ€” meat, egg and cheese on an English muffin.
The food was solid, the old-time atmosphere priceless. Indeed, the old fashioned decor made it clear why so many people turn to Mickie’s as the go-to weekend stopover. I’d still like to try a milkshake someday soon. Madison may have better breakfasts, but when it comes to killing hangovers, it’s best to stick to tradition.
Mickie’s Dairy Bar
1511 Monroe St.
Madison, WI 53711